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Helping children, young people and their families thrive

Radicalisation and extremism

As mums, dads and carers we want to protect our children from harm.

It can be hard to know when extreme views become something dangerous.

And the signs of radicalisation aren't always obvious.

It might be nothing, it might be something – but don't worry alone.

Radicalisation and extremism
Radicalisation and extremism

What are the signs of radicalisation?

Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:

  • isolating themselves from family and friends
  • unwillingness or inability to discuss their view
  • a sudden disrespectful attitude towards other
  • increased levels of anger
  • increased secretiveness, especially around internet use.

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. Extremists might target them and tell them they can be part of something special, later brainwashing them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family.

However, these signs don't necessarily mean a child is being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong.

Developing healthy brain

Every child needs loving, nurturing care from the adults around them if they are to develop the healthy brains they need to be able to thrive and this is even more important in the first few years of life.

And the toxic stress that being exposed to radical ideas and harmful material online that is specifically aimed at children can cause their healthy brain development to become impaired.

The good news is our brains aren't fully formed until around the age of 25, so there are opportunities to help young people develop the skills they need and to overcome the impact of earlier toxic stress.

Watch this short film to find out more about the impact toxic stress can have on a child’s healthy brain development.

Need to talk

Need to talk?

If you would like to talk to one of our local Family Support workers to see how we can help, pop into one of our family centres, email contact@family-support.org.uk or phone 020 8753 6070.

We're here to help with tailored support for you and your family - just ask!

Houra from Masbro

Worried about a child?

If you are worried about a child or young person, please call our team on 020 8753 6600.

If you are worried that a child or young person is at immediate risk, please contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 500 or help@nspcc.org.uk or call the police on 999

Remember Childline is always there for any young person online and on the phone anytime. If you are worried about yourself or a friend they are there for you.